Enviro-optimism in a time of Covid

Posted 17 December 2020
By Lauren Barraclough | Environment and Sustainability Officer
The pandemic has brought a lot of hardship for a lot of people and is likely to have affected everyone in some way. There are many heart-breaking stories and negative impacts as we have seen in the news, but there have been some positive outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, the impact it has had on our environment can be thought of as one of them.
Coronavirus Pandemic's Impact on the Environment Image Credit: Venngage

The pandemic has brought a lot of hardship for a lot of people and is likely to have affected everyone in some way. There are many heart-breaking stories and negative impacts as we have seen in the news, but there have been some positive outcomes from the coronavirus pandemic, the impact it has had on our environment can be thought of as one of them.

We all remember back in the first lockdown when the roads and skies fell silent, there was far less noise and air pollution. We even started to see more animals and wildlife in our towns and cities, animals which some people and children had maybe not even had the chance of seeing before.

Our energy usage has also changed a lot this year, with more of us working from home and travelling less, opting for stay-cations this year instead of flying abroad. This all had a massive impact on our environment and has meant we have seen the largest drop in CO2 emissions for many years because of the changes in our lifestyles caused by the pandemic. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that the world will use 6% less energy this year - equivalent to losing the entire energy demand of India (BBC News).

Global CO2 emissions, 1900-present Image Credit: BBC News

Waste however has increased as more medical waste is being produced and people have been switching to single use items to protect themselves from the virus transmission. This is all understandable, and ultimately will influence a temporary flux for this period. However, many companies are still changing their packaging and announcing plans to reduce their emissions to become carbon-neutral in the next few years.

Many people have said that the pandemic hit the reset button on our fast, consumer culture, and showed us just how big an impact our lives made to the world around us. Even though some of these effects on the environment may only be short term the thoughts and ideas behind them can be taken forward and a green recovery from Covid is one we can all aim for.

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